Common Reasons for Discomfort After New Fillings Are Placed.

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Dental Fillings is a basic dental procedure performed by dentist on the tooth to remove any decay and repair the cavity.  It is common to feel some discomfort after the new filling is placed and there are variety of reasons why this occurs.

The most common reasons of post-op discomfort is due to the high bite.  This occurs usually after the anesthetics wear off.  At the dental office, dentist would check the filling and tooth for any high bite by asking patient to bite on a marking paper.  The marking paper would leave indicative marking on the tooth which shows the high bite area.  The Dentist would also ask how the patient would feel.  Because the patient’s tooth is still numb under local anesthesia, patient may not be able to tell accurately if there are any high bite spot on the filling.  Dentist would perform any adjustment as indicated by the marking paper and also asks the patient if he/she is feeling fine.  Usually the dentist would make sure the patient is feeling fine and all high spot adjusted, before patient leaves the dental office.  However, because patient is still numb, there might be some slight high bite on the filling which the patient cannot feel when he/she is still numb.  So when the numbness goes away as anesthetics wear off, the patient might feel the high bite and might feel some discomfort at chewing.  The patient is encouraged to contact the dentist and schedule an appointment for adjustment of the filling.  Almost always, the discomfort would go away after the adjustment is made.

Another reasons for the discomfort might be due to the patient’s sensitivity to the dental materials used in the filling procedure.  Usually this discomfort might take some time to recover.  Dentist would not be able to tell if the patient is sensitive to the dental materials only after the filling is placed on the tooth.  Fortunately this type of discomfort is short term and is recoverable.

There is another discomfort caused by the deep cavity.  When the cavity is large, there might be little isolation from the nerve pulp of the tooth to the filling material.  Because the filling material conducts heat, cold and pressure differently from the natural dentin, the nerve pulp might be more easily stimulated.  Dentist can place the base material under the filling for protection purpose but sometimes the discomfort might still occur.   This discomfort is the causal by the dental filling procedure.  It has to do with the cavity being very large.  Dentist can try to put some desensitizing agent on the tooth if the discomfort occurs after the filling procedure.  However, if the discomfort continues due to large cavity, the tooth might need to have root canal therapy to control the symptoms.

There are also chances that the tooth might have small micro cracks which are difficult to detect.  They too can cause discomfort to the tooth.

The best way to fix the problem is to see the dentist for finding out the cause of the discomfort and then perform any adjustments/treatment needed.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Practicing General Dentist Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona.

Dental Office in Tempe AZ